Odisha to strengthen flood forecasting, set up more shelters

Bhubaneswar: With the cyclone Phailin resultant rains and subsequent heavy downpour owing to low pressure causing two spells of flood in the state, Odisha government today decided to strengthen the flood forecasting and monitoring system, official sources said.
The department of Water Resources and the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) have been asked to prepare a detail project report for installation of automatic rain recording stations up to gram panchayat level.
Being a coastal state, Odisha has numerous rivers flowing in the inland which are flooded with little rain every year. Though there are 177 rain recording stations, most of them located at block head quarters, they are not sufficient to forecast the impending floods.
"Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra has advised to set up rain recording system in panchayat levels," an official said.
This apart, Mohapatra asked the officials to prepare detailed project report for construction of 160 more flood and cyclone shelters though 340 such units existed in the state.
Mohapatra asked the SRC to identify 100 such places in first phase and prepare a project plan.
SRC has also been suggested to take note of the locations where schools have been damaged by flood so that the building constructed there can serve both the purposes of a good school building at normal times and flood shelter during the disaster.
The SRC has been given timeline to identify the possible locations within seven days.
While reviewing the restoration works in the worst cyclone hit Ganjam district, the Chief secretary asked all the departments to list out their requirements as both World Bank and ADB have already started process of assisting the state for the rehabilitation and restoration activities.
The departments on their parts have to undertake pre-project activities like identification of beneficiaries, work out implementing mechanism, identification of locations and others.
Forest and Environment department have been asked to identify sites for casuarina plantation along the sea coast. Casuarina plantation along the coast bed have been effective in breaking the wind speed and providing protection against strong wind.
Around 2,500 hectares of coast line has been proposed to be covered under such plantation at the estimated cost of around Rs 25 crore.